Category Archives: Music


Forty-Five Years of Jazz!

Don Keranen Memorial Concert

Both the R&D Big Band and the Jazz Lab Band were joined by two guest artists, both from the Twin Cities area. One of the two, Gus Sandberg, is a native of Chassell. He has a degree in music performance (saxophone) from the University of Wisconsin – Stephen’s Point, and has played with groups such as the Jack Brass Band, Mike Sterling, and the Irresistibles, and Dr. Mambo’s Combo. The other, Scott Agster, is a trombonist who studied for both bachelor and master’s degrees in music at the University of North Texas. He was worked with The Jack Brass Band, Salsa del Soul, and Tom Hunter and the Blues Frenzy.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Lode, by Nick Blecha.

45 years of jazz

See the photo at the Mining Gazette, by Stacey Kukkonen.

Reminder: Celebrate 45 Years of Jazz at the Rozsa

Alumni will play a big role in the festivities, and a reception for them will follow the concert. “We’ve got alums from all over coming back,” Mike Irish, director of Jazz Studies, said. So far, the oldest will be Tim Nielsen ’76, and the youngest will be Andy Kurzeniewski ’10.

Read more at Tech Today, by Bethany Jones.

Annual Memorial Concert is fast approaching

Right now, the Michigan Tech jazz bands are putting the finishing touches on their performances for the upcoming annual Don Keranen Memorial Concert, just like every year. This year, however, is not just like every year: the jazz program is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Lode, by Nick Blecha.

Celebrate! Forty-five Years of Jazz at Michigan Tech

A forty-fifth anniversary is a great reason to celebrate, and the jazz program at Michigan Technological University intends to party hearty.

It all starts on Friday, March 23, at 8:00 p.m. with the Off ‘Dem Jam Session at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Hancock.

The forty-fifth anniversary concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 24 at the Rozsa Center. It will also be the twelfth annual Don Keranen Memorial Concert.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Dennis Walikainen.



Mike Irish’s Jazz Night at the Orpheum

Mike Irish Presents Jazz Night at the Orpheum Theater…and admission is FREE!! Come check out the groovy tunes in the beautiful Orpheum atmosphere… The event takes place on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The Orpheum is located at 426 Quincy St., Hancock, MI. The venue is a remodeled vaudeville theatre built in 1910. For more information, visit the Studio Pizza website.


Original Composition by Milt Olsson

KSO performs third show

Four pieces were performed, three of them being of classical composers and the final being a premiere of Michigan Tech’s very own Dr. Milton Olson. While all the pieces felt familiar they all had their own personalities that set them apart. Each piece felt as though a tragedy was being played out. It was very easy for the audience to envision the picture behind the music.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Lode, by Mandy Barbul-Couch.

Olsson to premiere ‘Dialogues’ with KSO

Because of his knowledge of the KSO, Olsson also was able to give parts to players who may not get to show off their skills as often. “It’s an interesting work; there’s a solo for alto flute, a solo for electric guitar,” Neves said. “It’s challenging but fun because it’s personalized. Because of his knowledge of the KSO, Olsson also was able to give parts to players who may not get to show off their skills as often. “It’s an interesting work; there’s a solo for alto flute, a solo for electric guitar,” Neves said. “It’s challenging but fun because it’s personalized.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Zach Kukkonen.

KSO Performs Milt Olsson Composition

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will perform the premier of Milt Olsson’s “Dialogues for Orchestra”. Conductor Joel Neves said the KSO commissioned Olsson, former conductor of the orchestra, to compose a new work that coincided with the ensemble’s 40th anniversary.

Read more at Tech Today, by Bethany Jones.

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra performing at the Rozsa

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is nearly ready to perform its third concert of the 2011-12 season. On February 18 at 7:30 pm, the KSO will not only kick off 2012 with the ever-popular William Tell Overture, but will also debut a brand-new piece by Milton Olsson. Olsson was the previous director of the KSO, before current director Dr. Joel Neves, and has written other pieces for Michigan Tech’s musical ensembles: in 1999, the KSO premiered his Konzertstück, and in 2000 the KSO and Michigan Tech Concert Choir teamed up to premier his Mass for Choir and Orchestra.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Lode, by Nick Blecha.


“Jazz Club Cabaret” at McArdle

Warm your cold winter bones and nourish your soul with some hot jazz, funk and blues at the Jazz Club Cabaret at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28, in the McArdle Theatre.

Mike Irish, director of Jazz Studies, says two dynamic groups–Jaztec and Momentum–will perform.

Irish has a broad background in jazz studies as both an educator and performer.

Jaztec continues in its great tradition of jazz standards and contemporary jazz, with their own creative twist. Mark Maguire, guitar; Caleb Roty, sax; Jack Matheson, bass; Michael Coburn, piano/vibes; and Kyle Frazier, drums, have created some wonderful arrangements of well-known tunes.

Momentum features Nick Black, saxes; Laura Black, keyboards; Jacob Posega, bass; and Troy Bouman, drums. They will perform some of the deepest grooves and funkiest tunes in the area.

Read more at Tech Today. Original article submitted by Bethany Jones.

Learn more about small jazz combos at Michigan Tech.


Jazz Club Cabaret

Come join Jazz Club Cabaret featuring Jaztec, Momentum, and special guest performer Friday January 27th and Saturday January 28th in the McArdle Theatre at 7:30 pm. If you are looking for an intimate setting, interesting music, and great company; Jazz Club Cabaret has it all. The evening will turn a cold night hot with a mixture of beautiful tunes, and highlighting great classics in Jazz music. The close knit settings and beautiful lighting make for an experience unlike you have seen before in Houghton. Each band brings a different style of Jazz and compliment each other rhythms and harmonies. The Jazz Club Cabaret invites everyone to come out and experience the atmosphere the Jazz bands have created. Admission is $10 for the public and free for Michigan Tech students.

Reposted from the Michigan Tech Lode, by Mandy Barbul-Couch.


Music Lessons Offered

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts continues its music lessons program for students, faculty, staff and adult community members, for spring semester 2012. Lessons begin the week of Monday, Jan. 23, and are offered for guitar, piano, voice, and harp, and the woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

Taught by qualified local professional musicians, twelve 45-minute lessons are offered throughout the semester on campus. This is a great way to enhance your musical talents.

For more information, email lessons@mtu.edu .


Eric Whitacre Visits Houghton

World-renowned composer Eric Whitacre made a two-day stop at Houghton on October 20 and 21. He gave a free lecture at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and directed the Michigan Tech Concert Choir, Superior Wind Symphony, and festival band and chorus.

He typically labels his style of directing as “compassionate fascism”. “When I get up on the stage, I am full of animation,” says Whitacre.

“It’s tremendously exciting and unheard of to have someone of such international notoriety come to a smaller place like Houghton,” Superior Wind Symphony director Nicholas Enz comments.

Choral director Jared Anderson says the chance to work with Whitacre is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. “He brings deep musical sensitivities, as well as a very encouraging manner to all of the groups that he works with.”

While at Michigan Tech, Eric Whitacre was sunshined by members of the MTU Huskies Pep Band.

The event was sponsored in part by the Mark Eugene Howard Endowment.


Varsity Singers Alums have a Reunion

Former members and alumni of Michigan Tech’s Varsity Singers/Jazz Singers gathered as part of the Michigan Technological University 2011 Alumni Reunion August 4-6. Stephen Brown and Lisa Pekrul Lange are spearheaded the plan, working with retired director Milton Olsson, and with Brenda Rudiger and her Michigan Tech Alumni Relations staff. Together, they compiled a not-quite-complete list of names of past Singers, but the list keeps expanding as word about spread. Contact Doc at miolsson@mtu.edu to update your contact info and to advise about other Singers that you know. So far, there are over 175 names on the list.

Also, check out some great photos of the Varsity Singers in the 70’s!